Rev. Clay Evans;
Legend, Icon, Activist and Leader
By Stacy King-Chaney/Gospel Editor
Indeed a soldier in the Lord’s Army, the Legend, Icon, Activist, Leader, and extraordinary Pastor, The Rev. Clay Evans has been called to eternal rest from his earthly labor. If there is ever a man, who has left an imprint on the lives of all those, who had the privilege to be in his company, it is Rev. Clay Evans. Rev. Evans was admired and respected by many because of his unwavering commitment to serving his community and the church. He seemed to be a man, who was not on a mission but called to Missions. His devotion to pastoring a people was evident by the powerful preached Word and the work of his hands. He was the illustrious Pastor of the very influential Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church (which he founded) in Chicago, Illinois. While he served as Senior Pastor, all those, who sat in on a Morning Worship Service under the leading of Rev. Clay were moved by his sermons and uplifted by the renowned Gospel Music Ministry of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. It was no surprise that the music Ministry was impactful, even as the preaching was powerful. Rev. Clay Evans was a gifted Gospel Music Artist. His music ministry spanned over 30 years with eleven albums charting on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart.
Rev. Clay Evans never believed that ministry was to be contained within four walls. He believed that ministry was service to the community and became a force to be reckoned with, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Clay joined the efforts of Rev. Jessie Jackson, Sr. promoting civil rights, particularly in Chicago. He and Rev. Jackson founded the Operation PUSH coalition and Rev. Clay served as chairman from 1971-1976. At the time of his passing, he was the PUSH coalition’s chairman emeritus. His work within the community was a labor of love and he met no strangers. Rev. Clay embraced those, he met and left them with words of wisdom, a sense of purpose and they knew that someone loved and cared about them. His unique voice was captivating and led you to lean in to listen to every word spoken.
Rev. Clay Evans will be missed and has left large footprints to fill. However, with the legacy of love left by this “giant” in ministry and public service, we will be able to continue a work started and the work of his hands will be seen in the deeds that we do. We will forever remember the man, who never tired of doing God’s work on earth. May he rest in peace and receive his reward from God for a life well-done.